Construction limits student, teacher parking


Grace Vance

Since administrators announced the construction of the main entrance in March earlier this year, the renovation has temporarily blocked off the visitor parking spots in the east, opening entrance to the school.
Assistant principal Brian Gaub said this has resulted in some teachers parking in visitor parking in the north and south lots.
“The staff have to be able to come to work, so they’ve always had that option [to park in student parking] if necessary. I don’t know that many of [them] use it, but that is always an option. Staff basically can park anywhere except handicap or visitor parking,” Gaub said. “[I sent an email out reminding teachers they could park in student parking.] We were thinking that some teachers didn’t realize that that was an option because they were parking in visitor parking. We’re the most limited on visitor parking, especially in south [lot] because [that is where] the preschool parents drop [their kids off.]”
Math teacher Evan Thornberry said he wasn’t aware that teachers could park in student parking, but did so accidentally at the beginning of the year when he first started teaching here.
“I parked on one side of the grass median, and I thought anything on one side [of that median in south lot] was student parking and anything on the other side was teacher parking, and I didn’t realize it ended before then. I had always parked right up facing the grass median and that is where I have parked everyday almost since then,” Thornberry said. “I guess technically it is student parking, but I realized that the other spots [in staff parking] seem to fill up very quickly, so I just park there because it’s more convenient and [I’m] less likely to have to fight for a spot there. That was partially due to construction [with] the lot filling up quicker, but beforehand it is just what I did. It’s my comfort spot now at this point.”
While Thornberry and Gaub said they don’t know of many teachers who park in student parking regularly, sophomore Drew Morris said staff using student parking spaces is unfair to the students who end up having to park further away from school.
“I’m shocked as teachers are already presented with many parking [spaces] close to the school and many of these are not even being used. The student parking situation has already put many students into situations of parking in dangerous spots and far from the school,” Morris said. “I haven’t seen a teacher park in student [parking] yet and I’m glad to say that. Teachers have always had an abundant amount of parking and they should continue to take advantage of that, but if they were to begin taking student parking, I wouldn’t see that as fair.”
Morris said he drives to school everyday and has difficulty finding a place to park in the north and south lots, to which he ends up parking behind the Columbia Area Career Center.
Gaub said the reason behind reiterating staff’s access to student parking in an email he sent to the faculty was because the construction in the main entrance blocked the 12 visitor parking spaces in the main entrance. With eight visitor parking spots in both north and south lots, he said taking 12 spots away until August, when construct will be done, is “significant.” He also said that new teachers from the last two years may not have been aware that they could park in student parking.
“Really, that email that I sent was to encourage staff not to use the visitor parking spots because that’s the greatest shortage,” Gaub said.
Still, students like Morris are still dissatisfied about the current parking situation despite the construction.
“I hope sometime in the near future we can figure out a better solution to allow kids who are paying for parking passes more accessible parking,” Morris said.